Exclusive: The Obama administration is weighing options to leave 6,000 to 20,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014. But the prospect for even modest success is undercut by the country’s ethnic divisions and Pashtun hostility to foreign occupiers, says Bruce P. Cameron.
As the American Right loses credibility – from the Tea Party to the neocons – there’s a chance for the reassertion of rationality, a new respect for empirical evidence and disdain for propaganda. Perhaps most importantly is the recognition of the grave threat from climate change, says Winslow Myers.
With the “fiscal cliff” partly solved and partly delayed, President Obama may now turn his attention to filling his national security team for the second term, including whether to face down neocon opposition to Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.
With a late-night vote, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a partial plan – negotiated by the Senate and the White House – to avert the “fiscal cliff,” but most House Republicans voted no, with Tea Partiers continuing to flaunt their nihilistic extremism, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
The Tea Party sold itself to millions of Americans as a movement driven by principle and a rejection of the petty corruption that is part of Washington’s business as usual. But a key Tea Party organization has descended into exactly that sort of self-serving bickering, says Michael Winship.
Easy civilian access to powerful weapons is a recipe for greater domestic violence, just as an over-emphasis on military force leads to more wars, a conundrum that requires a greater commitment to both arms control and systems for resolving disputes peacefully, observes Lawrence S. Wittner.
The short-term danger of the “fiscal cliff” may be resolved either before or after the New Year, but the longer-term threat to the Republic is the never-ending demand from the Military-Industrial Complex for more and more money to finance war and empire, says ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley.
The FBI and other federal agencies coordinated with banks and local authorities in reacting to the Occupy Movement, which was put in the category of a domestic terrorist threat despite the group’s advocacy of nonviolence, Dennis J. Bernstein reports.
The end of the year brings reflection on what happened in the past 12 months and what lies ahead. But these retrospectives usually offer no more context – and often less – than the thin gruel of news as the events played out, News Dissector Danny Schechter notes.
Regarding the “fiscal cliff,” a consensus is forming in Official Washington that a top priority must be elimination of automatic Pentagon “cuts,” with the word “draconian” much tossed around. But the planned reductions are really quite modest, as the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland explains.